What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are unique public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement.

“Charter schools are unique public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, they are open to all children, do not charge tuition, and do not have special entrance requirements.”
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Charter schools are independent public schools governed by a board of directors. There is no tuition. Charter schools receive public funding from the state, as well as some funding from federal sources. At Académie Lafayette, any funding gaps are made up by fundraising, grants, and partnerships.

Charter school funding

“Charter schools are public schools. Like district public schools, they are funded according to enrollment (also called average daily attendance, or ADA), and receive funding from the district and the state according to the number of students attending.

“Unlike traditional district schools, most charter schools do not receive funding to cover the cost of securing a facility. Charter schools that are “converted” from traditional public schools begin with established capital, namely the school and its facilities, but many newly started charters struggle to come up with the necessary funds. Only a few states provide capital funding to start-up schools. Some start-up schools are able to take over available unused district space, but most rely on other, independent means. Recent federal legislation provides funding to help charters with start-up costs, but the task remains imposing.” (View reference.)

Who can enroll in a charter school?

Charter schools are “choice” schools, which means that parents and students choose which school they would like to attend and are limited only by space availability. Any student living within the Kansas City Public Schools district boundaries may apply to attend Académie Lafayette.

How much does it cost?

As a public charter school, there is no cost for residents in the Kansas City Public Schools district. Again, there is no tuition at a charter school.

Are charter schools subject to state and federal laws?

A charter school is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, and ancestry. Académie Lafayette has spelled out this nondiscrimination policy in its Charter Application.

For more information about charter schools in Missouri, go to the website of the Missouri Charter Public School Association.